Maoists mum on talks because govt lacks legitimacy: Tuladhar

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 30:

A programme on the concern and role of Newars in the conflict and path to solution was organised here today by the Newar National Forum (NNF).

Human rights activist and NNF adviser Padma Ratna Tuladhar said the reason behind the Maoists not coming to the talks table despite repeated calls from the government is because the present government lacks the required legitimacy.

He said it is not as easy to hold talks as giving a call for the same. Citing earlier instances of failed talks, he said though the Maoists had come for a dialogue, it was the government representatives who failed to understand the situation or perhaps they “did not want to solve the problems”. Before attempting to solve the Maoist crisis, Tuladhar said the government’s first duty should be to understand the cause behind the Maoist uprising, that it is a result of deep-rooted socio-political, ethnic, cultural and religious problems. Before doing anything, he suggested the government make due preparations.

“The Maoists have asked for a political system that promotes equality — equal rights for all ethnic groups, language communities, religious and regional communities. They want to see a sovereign people. Is the government ready to give this? If not, then even talks will not solve the problem,” he said.

Stating that in the international arena, the Maoists are facing tough times, foreign policy expert Hiranya Lal Shrestha said, “Given the present situation, we can urge the Maoists to change their way.” Shrestha added the Maoist activities in Nepal could be controlled to a large extent if the Indian government tightened security along the border for around six months as the border areas in India could be a source of illegal arms.

He also said Newars of the Valley can play a vital role in bridging the gap between the two warring factions as they are mostly businessmen who pay tax both to the government and Maoists.

NNF chairman Malla K Sundar said, “The conflict has affected our right to live, to work and to mobility. Every security or Maoist act affects us directly, whether it is Nepal bandh or blockade or strike, it affects the citizens of the capital.”